Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Townsend Cowboy Entertainer Gathering

Well, our weekend is almost here! The 6th Annual Townsend Cowboy Entertainer Gathering is about to begin. ( )

The Program book is being printed, the banners are going up, the radio, TV and newspaper ads and articles are out there and the performers are coming. Am I ready? Not even kind of!

There's a lot involved in getting one of these together and we actually work on it pretty much all year long with the most pressure these last two or three months. The program book is the hardest part, getting ads, building ads, arranging the book and getting it all printed off by a reasonable date. But, without the revenue produced by the program book, we couldn't do this show. But I don't believe we'd get the numbers of ads we do without this being a fund-raiser for the volunteer Fire Department. After expenses, all of the money for this Gathering goes to the Broadwater Rural Fire District. Joann Shindoll and myself make all the arrangements, do the program book, the promotion and everything. We are not on the list of expenses, other than our travel and so on. We'll have Helena's KBLL radio here doing a remote broadcast from about 1PM Friday until about 5PM. That should be fun

We give the Night Show performers a little for being here and we arrange lodging for them but with current gas prices, we aren't really even covering gas for most of these folks. Maybe someday we can be making enough on this to be able to actually pay performers but we are happy do do what we do for them.

We keep lunch and snacks available in the "green room" all day long, we provide dinner both Friday and Saturday evenings and of course all performers and their companion come into the night show at no cost.

We do this without asking for a percentage of CD sales. That has always been a big issue with me and I personally don't like to attend any Gathering or show where they charge me part of my sales. I won't pay them for the privilege of entertaining their audience! The very few Gatherings I have attended where they do that, I have not checked any of my CDs into their sales area. I just carry them with me and do all the sales myself.

Anyway, I need to get back to work on making my house livable for guests this weekend. This is my once a year housecleaning and I'm not doing as good a job as no one is bringing a wife this year so no woman has to try to exist in my little cave. Guys can handle my lifestyle a little better.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Summer's Gettin' started!

I went down to Alder, Montana last weekend and played at the Alder Steakhouse with Jamie Baker. We had a great time and the show went very well.

Anyway, on the way to Alder, I went through Virginia City at about noon and the Gazebo at the Virginia City Cafe was packed. Jamie and I went back to VC and played at the cafe for a while and then I played Saturday for a few hours, sold CDs and so on like usual. All about a month early. Either that means we'll have a big summer or it means we'll have a hot dry summer with no water. Guess we'll wait and see.

John Westbrook and I will be playing at the VC Cafe all summer. Whenever we don't have any other gigs scheduled we plan to do the VC Cafe. That is a fun job. We live in our campers out on Alder Gulch, start playing music about noon each day and play as long as we want. We'll each make decent money, sell CDs and talk with lots of great people. In the evening I'll hit the pool tables at the Pioneer Bar and the Bale of Hay Saloon then back out to the Gulch to sleep late and start over again. What a great way to spend the summer!

We get to meet people from all over the world. As customers come in to the cafe, finish and then move on, we play to about 200-300 people each day, about 30 at a time. We figure that every 45 minutes or so the audience changes and we can start our set all over again. We sell a bunch of CDs all summer as not only do people enjoy the music but they also want souvenirs of their Montana trip.

We hope to see yo out here this summer. Make sure you look us up and say "Howdy"!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Virginia City, Montana Gathering

Jamie Baker;, will be organizing the Virginia City Gathering this year. It should be a great show and I'm sure Jamie will do a great job of putting it together.

Anyway, if you need to ask about it, contact Jamie, not Toni James.

See ya there!

Finally!! Posting something new!

Ok, I know, it's been a month since I posted anything here. I've been kind of running in many different directions and I'm really not caught up yet.

First, of course, is that Joann Shindoll and I are the primary people involved in setting up the Townsend Cowboy Entertainer Gathering and that pretty much takes up almost all the spare time (?!) we might have. The program book is the biggest part of the whole thing. We personally visit with each business in Broadwater County and with many in Helena and Bozeman, getting ads for the book. These are what pay for all the things we try to do for the performers but it really takes up a huge amount of time and travel.

Then, Joann creates all the ads and she and I get together and assemble the ads and information into the program book for the printer. It's a lot of time, effort and argument that starts in February and goes until the last possible day before the show!

At the same time, both of us are keeping our real jobs going in order to stay alive the rest of the year, I'm booking up a bunch of music jobs and have already done several; Virginia City, Montana is already seeing good business and I'd really like to grab my guitar and be a part of it but not until after the first weekend in June!

Ok. enough crying and whining. I actually really have a great time with our Gathering and we'll have a big bunch of some of the best entertainers in the world right here in Townsend in a week or so. Many of my best friends will be here with me, we'll play music, laugh, talk, complain, fix the problems of the world and in general have a wonderful time. Once we're all together, all the work and pain of the past few months are just dim memories.

If you've never been to a Cowboy Entertainer Gathering before, either as a performer or as audience, then you are missing some great times and great memories. The past 8 or 9 years that I've been involved with these Western Performers has really been some of the best times of my life and I cherish each memory.

I'll get on here and put in some postings about the last couple of gatherings and shows I've been to and start being better about passing info out to the world.